It may seem like a no-brainer: as employers, we need to be providing potential employees with a journey that’s on a par with the experience we offer our most prized customers. The process should be easy and enjoyable, and candidates should get the information and feedback they require at each stage of the process. Even if they don’t achieve their desired outcome (getting the job), they should feel as if their time and energy has been appreciated and valued.

If this seems like common sense, then why is it that consistently, candidates report frustration – or worse, disillusion – in the hiring process of many organisations? And that the key points of frustration they feel, seem to be the same, survey after survey?

What do we keep getting wrong?

Lack of commitment to the Candidate Experience: As with any organisational ideologies or values, commitment starts at the top and filters down. If your senior leaders are not on board with providing candidates with an excellent experience, it will  be extremely difficult, if not impossible, to implement the changes required.

Not collecting candidate feedback: It might seem obvious that without understanding how candidates actually feel about their experience, any changes you make could fail to hit the mark and lead to improved business outcomes.

An inconsistent, patchy process: As consumers, we expect that when we engage with a brand, we’ll get a consistent experience. The same, of course, goes for the candidate experience: while candidates don’t expect anything too flashy, they do want a process that’s professional and thoughtfully designed, rather than something that’s been cobbled together with little thought about the journey as a whole.

Lack of communication: This is possibly the most common complaint from candidates, who want clear and timely information about the process and their progress. The problem exists in all stages of the candidate journey, from learning more about a company to accepting a job or not being considered any further. It can have serious repercussions for your organisation, from having top candidates drop out to wasting recruitment team time as they answer questions that could have been proactively addressed in communications to the candidate.

Impersonal or sloppy communication: While not quite as bad as no communication at all, candidates also don’t appreciate receiving poorly worded or edited templates that may have been copied from other positions. Spelling and grammar errors don’t make a good impression either.

Limited information: Candidates still report lack of information about a position and the organisation as a key problem during the recruitment process. Sparse or patchy information or requiring candidates to go hunting for answers to their questions can be a turn-off for quality candidates who might have otherwise applied for a role.

Difficult or long application process: While a longer application process is not (necessarily) a bad thing per se, candidates don’t want to feel like they’re wasting their time. Common peeves include:

  • Not being able to import information from social profiles
  • Not being able to complete their application on a mobile device
  • Having to create or log into multiple accounts to submit an application
  • Having information on their resume parsed inaccurately by an ATS, so they either don’t get recognition for their qualifications or experiences, or have to correct and re-submit information
  • Having to complete the whole application in one session, particularly if they need to source or copy specific documents.

Lack of perceived fairness and validity: Naturally, your candidates want to feel they’ve had a fair chance at displaying their knowledge, skills and experience during the recruitment process. This incorporates all of the screening mechanisms you use, such as screening questions, psychometric or other assessments, job simulations, case studies, and interviews.

‘Ghosting’ candidates: Unfortunately, there are still organisations using the strategy that ‘no answer means no’, which is, of course, extremely stressful for candidates. Regardless of the stage they’ve reached in the recruitment process – whether they’ve simply submitted an application or have completed three rounds of interviews – everyone who has made the effort to apply should be informed when they’re out of the running. 

No feedback provided: Candidates want to understand why they weren’t successful and what they can improve in future, particularly if they’ve progressed significantly through the recruitment process. Many employers choose to play it safe with a generic rejection along the lines of “Thank you for applying. Unfortunately, you weren’t successful”, which can prevent disputes and avoid awkward discussions with candidates about why they weren’t hired.

And what can we do about it? 6 Quick Wins

1. Start Collecting Candidate Feedback

Chances are, your candidates have opinions about their experience that you haven’t thought of, which a quick survey can reveal.

2. Add a Bot to your Careers Site

It’s likely that your recruitment team gets asked the same questions over and over again, which means they’re spending time responding to queries rather than interacting with promising  candidates. Adding a bot that answers FAQs can free up their time and reduce candidate frustration by offering them timely and accurate responses to their questions.

3. Record Some Employee Testimonials

They don’t have to be a top-quality production; in fact, more candid, less polished videos have an authentic edge.

4. Give Candidates a Timeline

Ensure that all applicants have a timeline of your recruitment process, so they know what to expect and when the important dates are.

5. Send Rejections, Offer Closure

While it might be more appropriate to phone candidates who have made it to the interview stage, an email to candidates who haven’t progressed that far is a quick win that closes the loop for candidates and demonstrates that you appreciate their time and effort in applying.

6. Find Some Champions

Commitment to the candidate experience starts at the top. If your senior leaders understand the (extensive) business implications of improving the candidate experience, they’ll be more likely to embrace projects that improve it and likely to promote it across the organisation. 

For more information and detailed solutions to the most common candidate experience problems, request our eBook Enhancing the Candidate Experience for Better Business Results.

About author

Revelian Kate Phillips

Kate Phillips – Chief Marketing Officer

Kate Phillips joined Revelian in 2015, continuing a 20+ year career in B2B marketing which has spanned the HR and recruitment sectors internationally, as well as government, media, transport and construction.

Kate holds a Master of Management, Bachelor of Business and Certificate IV in Training and Assessment.

In her current role, Kate is responsible for Revelian’s international brand and marketing strategies.

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